Set Distance to Target in View Properties?


I have wondered this for a while now but I never had the urge to ask. Recently I have been taking many interior screenshots in Arctic mode. If anyone has tried this, you would have notice that the geometry looks incredibly white, burned out. This has to do with how cameras work in Rhino, specifically the distance to target. Bug or not, the way to fix this and have shadows in interior views in Arctic mode is to increase the distance to target, and you do this by showing the Camera with ‘Camera’ command and grabbing the target point and pushing it away from your camera location point.

It is pretty cumbersome, and I notice that there is this field in Viewport Propoerties, but I was never able to enter a value there. It would be really really convenient to be able to do so.

I really can’t think of a situation where it is useful to just look at the Target Distance instead of setting it.

Hello - It is mostly handy, for me anyway, in troubleshooting display problems and for estimating focal blur in renderings. The problem, or complication, that I see with setting that one number is there would need to be UI determine whether the camera or the target should move.

Try this thing, maybe it will help for now - (633 Bytes)

To use the Python script use RunPythonScript, or a macro:

_-RunPythonScript "Full path to py file inside double-quotes"


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I think it would be intuitive for the target to move. You would not set a camera, save it and then have that camera moved by setting the target point distance.

It would also be counterintuitive to set the camera position coordinates (thorough the boxes above distance to target) and have the distance to target override these coordinate you just inputted.

Thanks for the script Pascal!

But from a photography point of view (pun unintentional) that is going to mess up perspective, framing and depth of field. When taking a photograph I expect the target to be chosen first and to move the camera to get those things right. If I’m taking a picture of a castle I want the gate to be at a particular point in my image where it meets aesthetic criteria, and I move my camera to get the effect I want. I don’t sacrifice the composition to avoid moving. So from my perspective (another pun), I’d always expect the camera to move.

I agree it should be enabled in View Properties as another way to control the elusive camera-target distance that many things in Rhino depend on (Skylight shadows depth, center of rotation…).
Intuitively the distance should push/pull the target point, camera left in place.
Additionally there should be a “pick” button to select a point on any object in the scene as a reference to get the camera-target line closest point to adjust the distance intuitively, numbers often don’t mean much.

I already deal with all of the above via scripts but it would be a nice general Rhino UI improvement.


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Technically in Rhino the camera is always placed first and the target picked automatically, for you wouldn’t be able to see anything in the viewport otherwise.

I guess your expectation would be illogical.
Mainly because 3D does not work as reality, it only mimics it when possible when under the hood is it totally different, but also because of the points I brought up before.

Moving the target is also the only way I know of to fix the shading problem in interiors.

I can imagine a UI where the Place buttons for camera and target offer a Distance = Free/Constrained command line option which defaults to ‘Free’ (current bevavior, workflow is unchanged) but if constrained, shows and constrains to the current distance by default, allows a number input to override - if no point is picked, only the distance is changed to match the current setting and direction remains unchanged…

Would that cover the case for y’all? This way camera or target could be moved, no change to the Properties panel.